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Affymetrix, SNP Health Association Resource, Partners HealthCare, ExonHit, Exiqon, Arrayjet, NIH

Affy Claims Regained Momentum in Genotyping via SHARE Partnership
The SNP Health Association Resource (SHARE) project has selected Affymetrix to provide genotyping services for a large-scale whole-genome association study to identify SNPs associated with heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, Affy said last week.
As part of the SHARE project, Affy, along with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, will analyze more than 9,000 samples collected by NHLBI and Boston University for the Framingham Heart Study, a decades-old database comprising more than 15,000 patient samples related to cardiovascular disease.
In addition, researchers will develop a database that will integrate genotypic information with phenotypic information from multiple NHLBI studies, Affy said. The data will be made available to the scientific community for further genome-wide association studies and will complement data included in the Affymetrix Control Program.
Chief Financial Officer Greg Schiffman said that the SHARE study, along with a genotyping deal with the Translational Genomics Research Institute signed this month, was “driven by moves [Affy has] made with relation to content and pricing.”
“We are really excited to see the momentum we’ve regained,” Schiffman said of the SHARE project. He attributed the deal to Affy’s decision to cut the price of its two-chip 500K Mapping Array Set in half, to $250 from $500, in July. The company is also planning a single 500K product, which is due to become available before the end of the year, as well as a two-chip 1 million SNP genotyping set, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2007 (see BAN 7/25/2006).
Schiffman’s made his comments at the Thomas Weisel Partners Healthcare Conference in Boston last week.

Affy and Partners HealthCare to Develop CLIA-Validated Genetic Tests
Partners HealthCare and Affymetrix have signed a three-year translational research collaboration to develop microarray-based diagnostics tests, the two organizations said last week.
Under the collaboration, Partners HealthCare’s researchers at Harvard Medical School, Partners HealthCare, and Harvard Medical School-Partners HealthCare Center for Genetics and Genomics will create and validate microarray tests using Affymetrix GeneChip genotyping, resequencing and expression technologies in Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments laboratories.
Affymetrix and HPCGG estimate that it may take a year to develop the first chip-based diagnostic test for use in the CLIA-approved lab. The CLIA-validated tests will first be offered to patients in the Partners HealthCare system.
Financial details were not disclosed.

ExonHit Licenses Merck Rights to RNA Splicing Microarray Patent
ExonHit Therapeutics has granted Merck a license to its RNA splicing microarray patent, ExonHit said last week.
The non-exclusive license gives rights to the patent — US No. 6,881,571, titled “Qualitative Differential Screening” — for research use only. The patent has claims directed to microarrays optimized to monitor RNA splicing events, the company said.
ExonHit added that it does not expect to receive more than $150,000 in revenues per year under this agreement.

Exiqon Opens Sales and Support Facility in US
Exiqon expanded its US presence by opening a sales, distribution and technical support facility in Boston, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based company said this week.
The facility expands Exiqon's presence and brings support and sales staff closer to customers, said Michael Kallelis, who is managing the new facility. Exiqon will also offer a microRNA profiling service for researchers that do not want to do the procedure themselves.
The existing Danish facility will focus on sales opportunities in Europe and Asia, where the company is establishing a distributor network.

Arrayjet Places Aj100 Scanners with Universities of Exeter, Nottingham
Arrayjet has sold Aj100 Inkjet Microarray Spotters to the UK's University of Exeter and University of Nottingham, the company announced this week.
The universities purchased the machines to support the Attogram project, a collaboration between the two schools that will use "structured light waves constrained on a microscopic surface to visualize how molecules interact with each other," according to the project website.  
The Arrayjet scanners will “form the mainstay microarray capability" of the Attogram project, the company said in a statement.
Financial details of the purchase were not disclosed.
In June, the University of Edinburgh purchased an Arrayjet Aj120 inkjet microarray spotter (see BAN 6/27/2006).

NIH Seeks to Out-License Viral, Monoclonal Antibody Microarrays
The National Institutes of Health is seeking to out-license technology for a viral microarray that contains “all known mammalian and avian pathogenic viruses,” and a monoclonal antibody microarray, the NIH Office of Technology Transfer said last week.
According to the NIH, the viral microarray contains 10,000 immobilized DNA oligonucleotide features, representing all known mammalian and avian pathogenic viruses. The oligo features on the array are 60-mer long and distributed across both conserved and non-conserved regions of known viral sequences. 
NIH claims that the array can be used for detection and identification of viruses that cause disease, discovery of new pathogenic viruses, diagnosis of human and animal disease outbreaks, and identification of viral agents used in bioterrorism. The viral array is available for both exclusive and non-exclusive licenses.
NIH is also seeking licensees for its monoclonal antibody microarray, which it claims allows high-throughput determination of protein expression profiles from serum, tissue, and cultured cells.
The monoclonal antibody microarray consists of more than 1,000 different antibodies immobilized on a glass slide, which recognize antigens from several groups of proteins, including cytokines, kinases, apoptotic proteins, growth factor receptors, tumor suppressors, and oncoproteins, NIH said. 
According to the NIH, the array can be used in high-throughput analysis of protein expression and direct measurement of protein expression at the gene product or post-translational levels
Like the viral array, the monoclonal antibody array is available for non-exclusive or exclusive licensing. Parties interested in licensing either array are advised to contact Cristina Thalhammer-Reyero at [email protected].

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.